top of page

Active Learning: Can It Improve Your De-escalation Skills?

Updated: Apr 3

Ever feel like you zoned out during a long training session? Traditional professional development often relies on lectures and presentations, which can leave information feeling dry and forgettable. This is where interactive training can come in. By incorporating active learning elements like simulations or role-plays into your training, you can unlock a myriad of educational benefits. 

An active learning training model can be especially useful when learning conflict resolution skills. Imagine practicing de-escalation techniques in a safe, controlled environment where you can make mistakes, receive support, and refine your approach. This active engagement can make the learning process more dynamic and even build muscle memory. But is it the right type of training for your team?

In this article, we’ll compare different training styles, highlight potential benefits, and answer the question: is active learning the key to preparing your team for success? 

Traditional Training vs. Active Learning Training

Traditional professional development often leans on established learning methods like lectures and presentations. While these can effectively deliver core knowledge, they often struggle to keep learners engaged. The one-way flow of information can lead to forgetfulness, especially when faced with real-world complexities.

Active learning methods flip the script entirely. By incorporating activities, simulations, and opportunities for hands-on practice, it fosters deeper engagement and knowledge retention. Learners become active participants, experimenting, receiving feedback, and building the practical skills they need to excel. This shift from passive consumption to active application empowers them to navigate real-world scenarios with confidence.

Pros and Cons of Active Learning Training Models

Active learning training models have emerged as a dynamic alternative to traditional training methods. Let's delve into the pros and cons of interactive training:


  • Enhanced engagement: Active learning exercises get participants personally involved in the learning process, leading to deeper information processing and improved knowledge retention.1, 2

  • Improved problem-solving skills: Active participation in activities encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for navigating real-world challenges.3

  • Practical skill development: By practicing relevant and realistic scenarios, learners build the skills required to apply knowledge effectively. Practicing in the classroom can help create muscle memory, leaving the participant feeling more prepared in the real world.4

  • Personalized feedback: Active learning methods during trainings often allow for personalized feedback and guidance, helping learners identify areas for improvement and refine their skills in the moment. This can also provide a welcoming environment for team-building.

  • Opportunities for customization: An interactive training session offers opportunities for collaboration. You may be able to customize your role-play scenarios or allow fruitful discussions to redirect the focus. 


  • Investment: Interactive training is an investment that can save you money in the future, but it may cost more than a traditional training upfront. Developing and delivering interactive training programs can be more expensive than traditional methods due to the need for specialized actors, resources, or facilitators.

  • Scalability: Active learning training may not be easily scalable for significantly large groups compared to lectures that can reach thousands of learners simultaneously.

  • Logistics: Organizing interactive training sessions may require additional logistical considerations, such as scheduling, designating a point person, and securing appropriate space.

How Does Active Learning De-escalation Training Work?

When you invest in traditional de-escalation training, your learners may listen to a lecturer, look at a slideshow presentation, or watch informative videos. But when you participate in an active learning de-escalation training, you get so much more. 

Typically, both traditional and active learning de-escalation training models will provide education on de-escalation skills and techniques. However, only an active learning de-escalation training session will provide learners with an opportunity to engage through participation and put the tools they learned into action. 

Many interactive de-escalation training services use professional actors for real-time practice. Participants can engage with realistic and authentic characters that react in the moment to the participant’s words and choices. By using professional actors rather than other participants, the scenarios enter a level of realism that can make learners feel like they’re actually in the moment. This can provide opportunities for participants to recognize their own triggers, internal biases, and physiological responses to conflict

Role-play scenarios can be paused by a de-escalation coach, who will offer guidance and facilitate discussion within the group. These conversations allow your team to work together, offering different perspectives and alternative solutions for the same problem. These discussions can also be a big help in ensuring your team is all on the same page with company policy.

Providing Your Team with the Best Training

Finding the right type of training for your team can be challenging. So, it can be helpful to determine which elements are most important. Traditional professional development methods, like lectures and slideshows, can be beneficial when the subject matter is simple, but with more complex or practical topics, interactive training can take learning to the next level. Active learning de-escalation training can provide a safe learning environment where participants receive personalized feedback, develop problem-solving skills,  and build the confidence to apply these techniques effectively in real-world situations.

If you want to learn more about how Crisis Actors of Minnesota can help you create an interactive de-escalation training customized for your team’s needs, contact us today!



  1. Gleason, B. L., Peeters, M. J., Resman-Targoff, B. H., Karr, S., McBane, S., Kelley, K., Thomas, T., & Denetclaw, T. H. (2011, November 10). An active-learning strategies primer for achieving ability-based educational outcomes. American journal of pharmaceutical education. 

  2. Singh, K., Bharatha, A., Sa, B., Adams, O. P., & Majumder, M. A. A. (2019, May 16). Teaching anatomy using an active and engaging learning strategy. BMC medical education. 

  3. Rossi, I. V., de Lima, J. D., Sabatke, B., Nunes, M. A. F., Ramirez, G. E., & Ramirez, M. I. (2021, November). Active learning tools improve the learning outcomes, scientific attitude, and critical thinking in higher education: Experiences in an online course during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biochemistry and molecular biology education : a bimonthly publication of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

  4. Mitchell, M., Bernie, C., Newall, F., & Williams, K. (2020, September 4). Simulation-based education for teaching aggression management skills to health care providers in the Acute Health Care Setting: A Systematic Review Protocol - Systematic Reviews. BioMed Central. 


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page